Roster development. The Eagles and the 49ers are the most complete teams — on each side and across each line — in the league. And for 49ers GM John Lynch to have this kind of performance with a QB pulling the strings that likely was no more in their plans than Joe Montana before the season is a testament to the completeness of the 49ers. Plus, both the front offices in Philly and San Fran seized the window of opportunity that was before them. Philly added AJ Brown to form a dynamic collection of skill players. The 49ers added arguably the biggest trading-deadline addition with Christian McCaffrey in recent NFL memory. Kudos.
SEC hoops heavyweights. Yes, to a question earlier around these parts, Texas A&M kinda sneaked up on all of us with a hot SEC start. But that résumé is as true and long-run dependable as Otis Campbell’s liver. The Aggies were toppled by UK, which is more SEC heavyweight in name than game so far this season. But UK, UT, Auburn and Alabama rolled — and the final three of those rolled on the road — Saturday. (And if you are counting at home, all covered, too. Which is nice.)
Plays of the Day NFL picks. Yes, we missed one of Friday’s offerings because the Grizzlies got sidetracked and sideswiped late by the Lakers in L.A. But our three NFL picks — Eagles over-13.5 in the first half, Bengals plus-5.5 and 49ers minus-4 — were as true George Washington.
Greg Olson. No, not the former Braves catcher. No, not the former Auburn and MLB relief pitcher. The former Panthers and University of Miami tight end. In a quick-turn vortex of finicky fans that find fault with announcers like mad mommas scanning a teenager’s room, Olson was great on Cowboys-49ers. Conversely, former star of the spin-off “Everyone Loves Romo” Tony Romo was flailing and falling into the worst of the analyst traps — trying to hard and speaking after play. Plus, as Olson ascends, we need to recall that he is soaring in the seat that Troy Aikman used to fill with above average.
American men’s tennis. Yes, we went way off the board here. Did you know there are three U.S. male racket-swingers in the Aussie quarters? Yeah, that’s what the interwebs are for. And there is for sure going to be one U.S. male player in the semis. For context, the last U.S. man to win a major title was Andy Roddick. And that was 20 years ago.
Jon Rahm. Not only did Rahm win his second event in his second start of 2023 — know this, dude has made $4.6 million in three official starts this season — he continued to be amazing with a club in his hand. In eight competitive rounds in 2023, Jon Rahm is 54 shots under par. Yeah, do that math friends.
Sports media homers/panderers. So Skip Bayless has a social media clip with more fake emotion than an Oprah interview. Stephen A. Smith will make 100 laps and be on 50 shows and will say “How bout dem Cowboys” today with more sarcasm than every 1980s SNL skit combined. Now add in Shannon Sharpe — Bayless’ cohort on Fox’s dreadful sports arguing show — getting in a shouting match with Memphis players during an NBA game in L.A. over the weekend, and what’s going on? My personal media view of the devolving of the product started with shock jocks saying things on radio just to get rises out of folks. That led to cable news execs challenging talent to be confrontational rather than conventional. Add in the entertainment value of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” which was satire, but a younger generation viewed it as their lone news source with Jon Stewart’s and his staff’s spin and sensationalism (it was supposed to be satire from the start, remember), and boom, the focus became making headlines rather than reporting them for far too many TV talking heads. I get trying to connect with fans of various sports and even some teams. I do. But connection can be professional, and Stephen A. Schtick and Skip Clueless left that realm long ago.
Dak Prescott. Dude had a chance and the rest of this Dallas mates held even and steady against a superior collection of 49ers at their various positions. But Prescott could not outperform Brock Purdy, and Dallas is approaching the three-decade mark since making it to the NFC title game.
Mike McCarthy. You win 12 games in back-to-back seasons and you should be rock solid in your NFL gig, right? Well, not when you mismanage late-game clock scenarios in back-to-back season-ending defeats. And that final set of plays was comical. Heck, Prescott should have been sacked for a safety on Dallas’ first play of its final drive. Granted, going 90-plus yards in less than 50 seconds with no timeouts is a super tall task. But Prescott’s near safety, multiple sideline gaffs by Dalton Schultz — he knows nothing apparently — and a game-ending play in which Ezekial Elliott is snapping the ball and the Cowboys complete an 8-yard curl is hard to explain. Before and after.
UTC hoops. No, not about the loss or another massive second-half meltdown. The loss of Jake Stephens is a lot of things and none of them are good. Disappointing is high on the list of adjectives for me.
This season of “Yellowstone.” No, this is not a new revelation, but the Mrs. and I got caught up on “1923” and the impressive exclamation points of drama and power — and the over-the-top smoochiness of Spender and his English lady — from the Taylor Sheridan spin-offs have clearly impacted the show that created all of this and made so many of us recognize that Paramount was a station as well as a studio. Whether it’s spinning their wheels to let the spin-offs catch-up so the story lines match or the best writers getting shuffled to the other projects while “Yellowstone” flounders on cruise control, it’s clear where the focus currently resides
The passing of the torch in sports is never an easy thing. To orchestrate or predict.
It’s especially true in individual sports, where golf will wrestle in the post-Tiger malaise for years and the post-Serena vacuum will silence women’s tennis.
It happens in team sports, too, even with fans and followers as concerned about the names on the front of the jerseys as much as the names on the back.
Think NBA post-Jordan, for example.
College sports are somewhat immune for obvious reasons, which moves us to the NFL, which is going to get an amazing gift of Peyton-Brady and Rodgers vs. humility into what looks like a high-time of AFC quarterback conversations.
And the symmetry was hard not to notice.
In K.C., Patrick Mahomes has been the QB1 for the Chiefs for five seasons. He’s making his fifth AFC title game trip. Think about that.
In Cincy, Joe Burrow looks the part of the next Tom Brady.
That made me think: What do we now make of Josh Allen and his career trajectory? Is he Big Ben Roethlisberger or is he more Philip Rivers?
It also makes you wonder where will Trevor Lawrence fall into the pecking order?
But it should make Roger Goodell giddy with the transition.
Because that’s not even factoring in the intrigue of Lamar Jackson’s future, Justin Herbert’s upside or the young cats in the NFC who look capable.
In fact, the bell curve between good (and better than good) and bad and worse than that QB play is so extreme, I think situation plays more into QB skill sets and ceilings than ever before.
This and that
— For folks with a case of the Mondays, and a special thanks to Rich Eisen for noting this on Twitter over the weekend, but Charlie Steiner’s giggle-fit on SportsCenter after Carl Lewis’ “special” national anthem turned 30 over the weekend. And it’s two-plus minutes that are guaranteed to make you smile.
— So after denying it originally, George Santos over the weekend offered an answer to photos of him dressed as a drag queen that was: “Sue me for having a life.” What? With all the different takes, the mounting lies, the incredulous headlines that change daily, what would it take to finish this sentence to truly shock you: “New York Congressman George Santos (fill in the rest).”
— The Mrs. 5-at-10 and I took in the Wanda Sykes comedy show at Memorial over the weekend. That’s a funny lady. And very liberal, and a lot of her show would have put Chas in stitches. (She has a whole bit on red hats and how they trigger her.) Still, she was very clever, and at times laugh-out-loud funny.
— Speaking of the PGA event, former Baylor School star Keith Mitchell finished 19 under and tied for 22nd, which was good enough for a smidgen more than $80,000. Stephan Jaeger got $38,080 for T36.
— Houston got toppled by Temple, which was a 19-point underdog, in college hoops over the weekend. Do we believe in Houston as a serious Elite Eight contender? Discuss.
So, weekend winners and losers. You know the drill. And congrats to those who wagered on Dallas kicker Brett Maher to miss an extra point Sunday. That paid some nice odds.
Multiple choice Monday is easy and direct.
Which current NFL QB, if you had the pick of the litter, are you building your franchise around?
— Patrick Mahomes
— Joe Burrow
— Josh Allen
— Other (and specify)
As for today, Jan. 23, let’s review.
Tiffany Amber Theissen is 49 today.
On this day in 1977, the mini-series “Roots” started its run on ABC.
Rushmore TV mini-series starts with the Alex Haley classic. What else makes it?